Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Frozen Charlotte

One of the best things about writing the Dolls To Die For series is getting to do research. I grew up in the fifties when one paycheck families were the norm, and money was tight. I was lucky to have one Barbie doll and a few outfits. And I had Lucy, a large rubbery doll named after Lucille Ball. That was it.

When I began researching for Dolled Up For Murder, I went to doll shows and introduced myself to the doll dealers. They welcomed me with open arms and lots and lots of stories about dolls.

That’s where I found out about Frozen Charlotte.

The story begins in the 1840s when Seba Smith, a Maine author, wrote a poem based on a story he read about in the newspaper. Later the poem was put to music and even later the doll was created. The tiny porcelain dolls were baked into cakes or Christmas puddings. The lucky child, who found the doll, received a prize. Here’s the story behind the legend:

Once upon a time on New Years Eve, a vain young girl named Charlotte set off with her lover Charles to attend a ball. The night was frigid and the sleigh ride would be long. Charlotte’s mother begged her to wrap up in a blanket for the trip, but Charlotte wore a new dress that she feared might not be seen. She refused her mother’s request, and they set off. Only once during the long ride did Charlotte complain about the cold. Charles called to the horses to run faster. When they arrived, Charles jumped down and offered Charlotte his hand, only to discover that she had frozen to death. Charles mourned until he died of a broken heart.

To make a Frozen Charlotte dessert –line the sides and bottom of a springform pan with ladyfingers. Soften 1 ½ tsp. of unflavored gelatin in a little water. Whip 2 cups of heavy cream until stiff, adding a little vanilla or rum when ready. Meanwhile, heat the softened gelatin and 3/4 cup of sugar in a heavy pan until sugar dissolves. Add gelatin mix slowly to cream while whipping with a beater. Fill the lined pan with the cream mixture. Freeze overnight. Serve with more whipped cream, strawberries, cherries, or hot fudge.

The original poem can be found at:

1 comment:

Linda O. Johnston said...

What a great story, Deb! And a recipe, too!

I agree with the observation that writing a mystery series gives us a good excuse for doing research in areas we love. I really didn't know a lot about ferrets before researching NOTHING TO FEAR BUT FERRETS, or about macaws before FINE-FEATHERED DEATH, or about ball pythons before SIT, STAY, SLAY, or Bengal cats before MEOW IS FOR MURDER. And they're not the only pets I've gotten to research so far.

I hope we get some additional fun stories from you about different dolls.